Normally, a season-ending game against a winless opponent would offer little fascination for a playoff-bound team like Donaldsonville High.
Then again, no game is like Donaldsonville vs. St. James.
The two rivals are separated by a stretch of the River Road that runs through St. James and Ascension parishes. Past games have matched relatives against each other.
On Thursday night, the Tigers (4-5, 2-2) will get to know St. James (0-9, 0-4) in a District 9-3A game at Donaldsonville’s Boutte Stadium.
“Moving up to Class 3A made this a different kind of year for us,” DHS coach Terence Williams said. “We saw great coaching and athletes when we played on the 2A level. The move up to 3A showed us how important physicality and depth can be. They (the Wildcats) have had their struggles, too. Like us, they’ve played a tough schedule, and they’ve been in a bunch of games to the end. We need to remember that.”
The St. James-Donaldsonville game is one of four games Thursday. Ascension Christian (0-9, 0-4) meets St. John (6-3, 3-1) in a District 9-1A game at Donaldsonville’s Canova Stadium and Istrouma (0-9) at Terrebonne-Houma (4-5) for a nondistrict game. Those three games start at 7 p.m.
Louisiana School for the Deaf hosts (3-4) Arkansas School for the Deaf (4-5) for an eight-man game with a 1 p.m. start.
“It’s been a tough year,” first-year St. James coach James Bell said.
“We’ve been in district games with Brusly, Port Allen and E.D. White and had chances to win. We’ve also had a lot of injuries that have slowed us down.
“Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to do some good things this week. We know they (the Tigers) are a good team. Their speed is definitely their biggest asset.”
Neither coach has been part of a SJHS-DHS game. Williams is in his third year at DHS. The last time the teams played was in 2007. That year, St. James won 40-21.
“I did some checking and I believe the last time we beat St. James was 2000,” Williams said. “That adds a little something to this.”
Donaldsonville has excelled, at times, and a tough schedule that included Class 5A No. 2 Dutchtown, helped the Tigers garner enough power points to rank 16th in the latest power ratings, safely on the list of the 32 teams to make the playoffs.
Tulane commitment Devon Breaux has passed for 2,435 yards and 21 touchdowns to lead the Tigers. Leondre James (56 catches, 955 yards, eight TDs) and Jaquel Gant (50-879, eight TDs) are other leaders.
QB-safety Shaquille Narcisse and running back LaRohn Cambre help lead SJHS.
LSD seeks .500 mark
The chance to finish with a .500 record is at stake for LSD and ASD in an eight-man game.
Running back Anthony Johnson could crack the 2,000-yard rushing mark for LSD if he gains more than 200 yards. ASD is led by quarterback Shawn Portier, who attended LSD in elementary and middle school.